[erlang-questions] Recless

Yariv Sadan <>
Thu Oct 12 14:34:29 CEST 2006


> This looks like a good idea to work further with.
> There are some problems about it, however:
>     * the syntax issue, of course. I think that attempts to just use a
> parse transform (as opposed to change the parser itself) won't provide
> very readable results. Or as with the a.b.c.d suggestion, it will
> clash with something else.

Recless only applies a transformation to expressions that start with a
variable name, e.g. A.b.c.d but not a.b.c.d (at least, that's what it
*should* do -- otherwise, it's a bug). If it can't ascertain that A is
of a record type that has the field 'c', and that 'c' the field 'c' is
an instance of a record type has a field 'd', then it will compain
about a type inference error but and abandon the transformation.

Btw, only setters currently have the aformentioned syntax conflict.
Getters are safe (I'm pretty sure). E.g.

Ciry = Project.owner.city


>     * since one is required to declare the types of record variables,
> I'm not sure how easy it would be to use. Should the default value of
> a record field serve as a type declaration? How to handle 'undefined'
> values then? We would have to handle the equivalent of
> NullPointerExceptions :-\

Recless does look at the default declaration for a record. It searches
for fields that are records by default, and when it sees a record
instantiation, it applies the full type to the variable it matches
against. For example, this works:

-record(bar, {d,e,f = "baz"}).
-record(foo, {a,b,c=bar{})).

test() ->
  A = foo{}
  undefined = A.b,
  "baz" = A.c.f.

Recless also understands lists and tuple matching. E.g.

[A.B] = [foo{}, foo{}],
"baz" = A.c.f,
"baz" = B.c.f


> Finally, as a personal wish, I would rather see an implementation of
> Richard O'Keefe's abstract patterns proposal (see
> http://www.erlang.org/ml-archive/erlang-questions/200309/msg00309.html).
> It might need to be revised a little, since it is a few years old.

That would be very nice :)


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